The Client and the Site
Grey is one of the ten largest advertising agencies in the world, with offices in 154 cities across 96 countries, 6,500 employees globally, and a revenue north of 1 billion USD. The group are a major part of the WPP plc parent, and their London office opened in 1962 .
Grey London are based in the Johnson Building, Hatton Garden. The original building dates back to 1927 but has been modernised by recent development projects that exemplify how thoughtful urban renewal can knit new with old to breath new life into the city. It's a truly great building for us to have been asked to deliver AV systems into, and it seems like a great place to work, too!
Our first project with Grey concerned their impressive double-height Ground Floor space, which flows between an area used for their main Reception, an events space, and a flexible meeting environment.
This expansive open-plan space has a great deal of different uses for the organisation - it's used as a space for major client presentations, small informal meetings, large corporate events, and even their regular 'all hands' meetings for their 400 staff that are based in the building. The café which also forms part of the space is also heavily used by the staff. These diverse needs required a flexible audio and AV system that could deliver impeccably clear audio and punchy visuals for large meetings and important presentations. The systems needed to be able to be quickly and easily adapted by non-technical staff , but up to the challenge of their most demanding client-presentations, where everything rides on wow-factor of the pitch!
Crossover were tasked with a complete overhaul audio and AV systems. The existing audio system was simply not fit for purpose; it suffered from frequent audio intelligibility and microphone feedback issues during events, and it used a mixing desk that required sound engineering expertise to use. There was also a need to address the acoustic response of the space, with frequent complaints of sound spillage into the First Floor offices.
Following a very rigorous supplier selection process, Crossover were chosen, based upon the quality of our bespoke design work, portfolio, our technical analysis of the problem and the positive feedback that Grey received from our previous clients.
The facilities team at Grey were impressed with the acoustic modelling and sound propagation models which demonstrated to Grey the proposed locations of the loudspeakers Crossover would install, and how this would provide the best overall sound coverage in the space.
The AV System
The improved audio system consisted of nine wall-mounted loudspeakers from Martin Audio that were carefully located to deliver even sound coverage, rich, full frequencies and excellent intelligibility.
These loudspeakers were configured into three distinct audio zones, and in order to maximize intelligibility, the speakers were configured with various time delays. As a result, when presenters used the microphones, the audience at the back of the space receive a more direct sound source and they sense that the audio is coming from the front of the room.
In the second phase of the project a 3x3 videowall was installed as the visual focal point of the space, providing Ultra HD 4K resolution for stunning clarity and detail. Various sizes of screen and mount were considered, with on-site demonstrations and mock-ups used to help the decision makers select their preferred option. The videowall is used to great effect in large-scale all-hands meetings, supplemented by two reinforcement screens further down the space, so nobody missed out on a great view of the presentation visuals.
The control element of the system needed to be both straightforward and simple to use, as well as dynamic enough to deliver control over the systems for any scenario or event. To achieve this, Crossover delivered a custom-programmed control system with a stylish GUI (Graphics User Interface), whose aesthetic was designed with the Grey London brand firmly in mind.
An iPad and a wired touch panel give Grey London flexibility in how and where the system is controlled.
The app-like control interface features a number of audio and video presets which when pressed, trigger a sophisticated audio DSP (digital signal processor) and video scaling switcher to automatically and instantly change audio levels, video inputs and audio sources as required by the preset . These one-touch presets include:
- Small Meeting - designed for small group presentations on the front screens. The Bar area loudspeakers are muted, apart from the front two small speakers, allowing a presenter to be heard clearly when necessary.
- Company Meeting - for all hands meetings where the space is filled with up to 400 staff, delivering exciting presentations to the whole area. Microphone levels are set accordingly, ready for the presenters.
- Background Music
- Bar Night - the Bar Area zone has louder music, appropriate to a bar at night, whilst the music in the Reception area remains at low level
At the client's request certain features were hidden on password-protected screens, making the system less prone to user error.
Below: One of the screenshots from our bespoke GUI created for the control system at Grey London
The feedback Crossover received from staff at Grey London was very positive, and reflected what a huge success the project has been. The first large meeting conducted with the new system revealed a huge improvement to both the presenters and audience, much to the considerable surprise of the audience who had been used to the mediocre performance of the previous setup. The system provided a clear and intelligible sound to all of the 200+ people in attendance, and with a much swifter and easier setup process ahead of the event, and without a single technical issue throughout. In the months following project completion, we have received reports that every single other meeting and presentation has gone smoothly, and with great results.
Crossover are delighted to have been chosen by Grey London to deliver this AV project to their London Headquarters, and look forward to further projects across other areas of the site, which are soon to commence.
If you would like to know more about what we can for you in terms of AV in conferencing and events spaces, contact us today.